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Virgin Trains gears up for influx of Commonwealth Games visitors

Press release   •   May 02, 2014 14:21 BST

2014-27 (DH)

Glasgow, May 2, 2014

Virgin Trains gears up for influx of Commonwealth Games visitors

Virgin Trains is preparing to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

Up to 70,000 journeys to and from Glasgow are predicted over the two weeks of the Games (July 23 to August 3), a 16% increase on normal loadings.

Virgin Trains link Glasgow to London and Birmingham and will carry more people across the border to the Games than any other rail operator.

It has now launched an advice page for visitors and those travelling with Virgin Trains during the Games period:

Scotland’s largest city is connected to London by a fast hourly service, with average journey times taking just 4hrs, 32 min, and an additional services from London every other hour routed via Birmingham.

An overhaul of Virgin Trains’ Anglo-Scottish timetable provided an additional 3000 seats per weekday last December and a number of services have had additional carriages added to provide more seats during the Games.

Despite this, some services are still likely to be busy due to the extraordinary levels of demand, particularly on northbound services over the weekend of July 25 to 27.

Passengers are advised to book early to get the best deals. Advance fares, starting from £21 from London and £16.50 from Birmingham, for the Games period go on sale this week and will be released sequentially up to May 12.

Phil Whittingham, Lead Executive for Virgin Trains, said: “The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow is shaping up to be a fantastic event and we’re delighted to be able to offer visitors a fast and frequent service to Scotland’s largest city.

“We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors onboard and giving them a great Virgin Trains experience.

“With the additional 3000 seats per weekday we introduced on Anglo-Scottish services last December, we are well placed to cope with the additional demand. The peak demand we are predicting is not as high as we would expect to see during the Easter or Christmas holidays.”

In addition to the 11 days of elite sporting competition, Glasgow will play host to the Games’ cultural festival, with a raft of live entertainment, big screens, street theatre and other exciting events.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “During the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games we anticipate an influx of hundreds of thousands of visitors coming into the city to enjoy a raft of sporting events and cultural activity whilst soaking up the electric atmosphere in what is set to be the most exciting year in Glasgow’s history.

“We’re delighted to see Virgin Trains playing their part in supporting this movement of people and giving visitors a proper welcome to Glasgow from the moment they board the train.

 “Many people will be travelling from London, Birmingham and across the UK, so the additional capacity Virgin Trains introduced last December will ensure even more visitors can enjoy a speedy journey into the heart of Glasgow city centre.”


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Virgin Trains has revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Glasgow.

Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and was initially due to run for up to 23 months. The Transport Secretary announced on 26 March 2013 that it will be extended until April 2017, when a new long-term West Coast franchise is expected to start.

Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.

Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Autumn 2013) overall satisfaction was 91%, meaning the company has remained unbeaten over nine successive surveys in the long-distance franchise category.

Virgin Trains was awarded certification to the internationally recognised ISO 14001 Environmental Management System standard in January 2014.

Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011. The company’s Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.

For more information about Virgin Trains visit the company’s website or the Media Room website